Beetroot Paneer Kofta

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Beetroot Paneer Kofta

Served all the way from the Middle East through India to central Asia, there are as many versions of koftas as there are tastes and preferences. Although originally made from ground meat, there are countless vegetarian versions of these little "meatballs", or sometimes rounded patties, to be found too, many made with cooked beans, potatoes or paneer cheese instead of meat, but always with herbs and spices. Often they are served in a creamy sauce.

Beetroot is a favorite vegetable of mine, and having some in the pantry that would have been a shame to waste, I decided to make these savory Indian koftas that may be served as an appetizer or as a side to accompany an Indian-themed meal. Whether you want to call these koftas or just beet and paneer cheese patties, I've always adored little bites, and although these are fried, they are pan-fried in very little oil, which I prefer over deep-fried foods. Less mess, less fat, and cheaper too because I cook with only quality oils, and it seems a shame to toss a cup or more oil away. These koftas have a delightful charcoal crisp exterior, with a blissfully soft interior, and a little kick too from fresh chilies and hot and aromatic spices which I find complement the strong flavor of beets.

Beetroot Kofta

On hot days, these would be delightful with a cooling raita and a leafy green salad. Either way, these are a treat and need little adornment to be enjoyed if you are a fan of beets, which happen to be very nourishing as they are high in fiber, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamins C and B. Known to promote liver health, they are also believed to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Best of all, they aren't too difficult to prepare, though a little messy, but absolutely worth the effort.

Beetroot Paneer KoftaBeetroot Paneer Kofta
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 9, 2020

Soft savory pan-fried patties made from mashed beets, crumbled paneer cheese, and spices

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 12 to 16 minutes

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 5 medium beets (about 600 g), trimmed and well scrubbed
  • 12 1/2 oz (350 g) paneer cheese, crumbled
  • juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2-inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chickpea flour (besan), as needed
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • oil for frying
  • Put the beets in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook until the beets are fork tender — about 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins with your fingers or a knife. Transfer to a large bowl and mash well.

  • Heat a few teaspoons of oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. When hot, add the mashed beets and fry for 5 minutes. Add the paneer, lemon juice, ginger, chilies, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, asafetida, cayenne, and salt. Stir well to combine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chickpea flour and fenugreek leaves. Let the mixture cool down for about 10 minutes, and then add the egg and stir well to combine.

  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Stir the mixture again, and if it seems too moist to shape, stir in more chickpea flour. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hand, shape into a ball, and flatten into a patty about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Place each patty on a piece of foil or parchment paper.

  • Heat about 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add 4 of the rounds and fry until golden crisp on both sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with foil wrap, cover, and repeat with the remaining koftas.

  • Serve hot with toppings of your choosing, such as a cooling raita, or just as is with favorite flatbreads and a curry dish. Reheat leftovers in foil in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 16 to 18 koftas or 8 servings

Other kofta recipes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Spicy Baked Chickpea Koftas
Indian Paneer Lentil Kofta in a Creamy Spiced Fenugreek Sauce
Urad Bean and Quinoa Kofta with Coconut Fenugreek Sauce

Audio accompaniment: Palestrina, Canticum canticorum

No comments: